Alien life: Deadly stellar radiation blasts ‘habitable’ exoplanets every few days

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Planets orbiting M-class red dwarf stars have been suggested as some of the most promising places to look for alien life, but now it seems powerful outbursts from the stars could render them uninhabitable



Space



26 September 2022

Red dwarf star

An artist’s impression of a flaring red dwarf star and a nearby planet

ROBERTO MOLAR CANDANOSA/CARNEGIE/NASA

Planets once considered to be the most promising candidates to host life outside the solar system may actually be uninhabitable due to powerful stellar flares, according to the largest ever survey of planet-hosting stars. However, these high-energy blasts might still be useful to kick-start chemical processes for life.

Exoplanets discovered in the so-called habitable zone of their parent star, where the conditions aren’t too hot or too cold so that liquid water could exist on their surface, often …



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